For as terrific as Hassan Whiteside has been for Miami this season, the 25-year-old center hardly has the coolest head on the floor. He’s had a hefty share of dust-ups for a player just making his name in the league. They've been a smattering of unnecessary shoves and chippy exchanges resolved in relatively short order.
Whiteside’s latest outburst during the Miami Heat's 100-90 loss against the Boston Celtics proved different. After struggling with foul trouble and failing to earn whistles on his own scoring attempts, Whiteside took his frustrations out on Boston’s Kelly Olynyk. First Whiteside sent Olynyk a warning shot, swinging an elbow up by the big man’s face for no immediately apparent reason. Olynyk shrugged off the swipe to continue defending on the play, but Whiteside wasn’t finished. As Whiteside rotated over to crash on Mario Chalmers' drive, Whiteside built up a head of steam and plastered the unsuspecting Olynyk.
After a review, Whiteside was assessed a no-brainer flagrant two foul for unnecessary and excessive contact and subsequently ejected. Whiteside immediately walked to the bench after his dumb, senseless action.
[daily_cut.NBA] There’s no defense of a hit like this. What Whiteside did served no basketball purpose and posed real danger to Olynyk, as Whiteside’s forearm drove directly into the base of Olynyk’s neck and shoulders. The shove could easily have ended in real, serious injury, and for what? So that Whiteside could blow off some steam for perceived injustice?
While this event stands alone, Whiteside’s temperament is part of the reason he had trouble landing a steady NBA gig up to this point. His production this season has been ridiculous enough to warrant investment through the minor incidents thus far, but this flagrant is of a different sort. Whiteside can’t lose control so easily. His flare up will likely result in a multi-game suspension at a time when the Heat are competing for a playoff berth and have precious few alternatives at center. Whiteside is essential, yet he behaved as if his actions would go without consequence.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra insisted that Whiteside's actions would first be addressed internally.
Spo on Whiteside getting tossed: "We'll handle it. It will be corrected. Everybody's responsible to the team."— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) March 10, 2015
Heat forward Henry Walker and Celtics guard Evan Turner were also ejected with 26 seconds remaining in the game. The Heat's Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 34 points. Thomas paced the Celtics with 28 points and four assists. Whiteside finished with seven points, nine rebounds and four fouls in 22 minutes.
Monday marked the 12th loss for the Heat against an under-.500 team. Boston improved to 26-36 while the Heat fell to 28-35.